Feature Article - March/April 2012

Wired for Motivation

Electronics Incentives to Get the Motivation Gears Turning

By Emily Tipping

It is hard to imagine a world without consumer electronics. For some people, even a day without their assorted electronica—from smartphones and GPS devices to televisions, tablets, cameras and more—is unfathomable. And, in fact, it is an industry that continues to grow, and whose products continue to introduce new innovations, at a rapid clip.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the industry will surpass $200 billion in overall revenues in the United States for the first time this year, with technology and innovation playing a vital role.

"Technologies that may have seemed cutting-edge in the past are now an integral part of consumers' everyday lives," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis. And the cutting-edge products just keep coming.

There's a reason your employees, customers, sales reps and partners are so motivated by these products. There is always a new development coming over the horizon, and many people want the latest and greatest right now. When you deliver it to them, you're powering their everyday life while powering up your incentive or reward program.

"Consumer electronics continue to have a broad appeal, as potential recipients can use them to enhance their own lifestyle, share with their friends and family (i.e., photos, watching movies, Skype), and there are always newly emerging CE technologies and a variety of options to keep this category interesting," said Shelly Colla, Premium Incentive Group - Sales Manager for Sony Electronics.

Brian Rivolta vice president of Strategic Partnerships at Incentive Concepts, agreed. "Since technology is always improving, participants are always looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest model," he explained. "There is also a big market for accessories that are compatible with new devices."

In fact, the CEA attributed some of the increase in industry revenues this year to the surge in sales of mobile-connected devices. Tablet computers, for example, are the fastest-growing category in CE history, according to the association, and smart phones are the primary driver of revenue for the industry.

"The electronics category carries the most in-demand, trendy and cutting-edge products geared for consumers who are interested in 'who has the best and newest toys for grownups,'" said Mary Ann Saggio, senior buyer for Rymax Marketing Services Inc. "Customers are always looking for the new technologies and coolest products to offer in their incentive and rewards programs, and the electronics industry satisfies this customer need."

And because this category continues to see innovative technology emerge at every turn, the excitement doesn't go away. "The ongoing media buzz of electronics creates interest from program participants and often gives them an added incentive to reach their goals and in turn redeem for these hot products," Saggio added. "Companies running incentive programs benefit from offering popular products because they directly tie into a program's goal of driving behavior by motivating participants."